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St. Anna, Princess of Kashin


Commemorated on October 2

The Holy Right-believing Princess Anna of Kashin, a daughter of Rostov Prince Demetrius Borisovich, became the wife of the holy Great Prince Michael Yaroslavich of Tver in 1294. After the death of her husband by Mongol Tartars, Anna withdrew into Tver’s Sophia monastery and accepted tonsure with the name Euphrosyne. She later transferred to the Kashin Dormition Monastery, and became a schema-nun with the name Anna. She fell asleep in the Lord on October 2, 1338.

Miracles at St. Anna’s grave began in 1611 during the siege of Kashin by Polish and Lithuanian forces. There was also a great fire in the city which died down without doing much damage. The saint, dressed in her monastic schema, appeared to Gerasimus, a gravely ill warden of the Dormition Cathedral. She promised that he would recover, but complained, “People show no respect for my tomb. They ignore it and my memory! Do you not know that I am supplicating the Lord and His Mother to deliver the city from the foe, and that you be spared many hardships and evils?” She ordered Gerasimus to tell the clergy to look after her tomb and to light a candle there before the icon of Christ Not-Made-By-Hands.

St. Justina of Nicomedia


Commemorated on October 2

The holy Virgin Martyr Justina suffered for Christ in Nicomedia with the Hieromartyr Cyprian and the Martyr Theoctistus in 304.

Justina lived in Antioch in the late third century. After turning her own father and mother away from pagan error and leading them to the true faith in Christ, she dedicated herself to the Heavenly Bridegroom and spent her time in fasting and prayer.

When the youth Aglaides proposed marriage, Justina refused, for she wished to remain a virgin. Cyprian was a pagan sorcerer, and Agalides sought his help by asking for a magic spell to charm Justina into marriage. But no matter what Cyprian tried, he could accomplish nothing since the saint overcame all the wiles of the devil through prayer and fasting. Cyrian sent demons to attack the holy virgin, trying to arouse fleshly passions in her, but she dispelled them by the power of the Sign of the Cross and by fervent prayer to the Lord. Even though one of the demonic princes and Cyprian himself assumed various guises through the power of sorcery, they were not able to sway St. Justina, who was guarded by her firm faith in Christ. All the spells dissipated, and the demons fled at the mere mention of her name.

St. Domnina with her daughters

Commemorated on October 4

St. Domnina was a woman with two daughters named Verine (St. John Chrysostom called her Vernike, or Berenice) and Prosdoce. Leaving their home and family, they settled in Edessa on the plain of Mesopotamia.

St. Domnina’s husband was a pagan and took the women to Hieropolis in Syria. When the soldiers stopped to rest and eat, they became drunk with wine. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the women fled and were drowned in a nearby river.

According to St. John Chrysostom, Domnina stood in the middle of the river and pulled her daughters under the water with her because she was afraid that the soldiers were going to rape them. St. John praised Domnina for her courage, and Berenice and Prosdoce for their obedience.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Callisthene and her father, Audactus of Ephesus


Commemorated on October 4

The holy martyr Callisthene was born in Ephesus. She was to marry Emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311), but her father, Audactus, would not consent to the match because the emperor was a pagan. Audactus was deprived of his wealth and position and was exiled to Armenia where he was beheaded.

Callisthene hid for a time in Nicomedia and healed a young woman of an eye ailment. After the death of Emperor Maximian, Licinius (311-324) became the last pagan emperor. Callisthene became friends with his Christian wife, Constantia, the daughter of St. Constantine. She told Constantia of all that had happened to her, and she helped Callisthene to regain her father’s wealth and possessions. Callisthene did not want these things for herself, but gave everything away to the poor. She also brought her father’s body back to Ephesus and built a church which was dedicated to him.

St. Callisthene devoted the rest of her life to Christ, and died in Ephesus in the first half of the fourth century.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Charitina of Amisus


Commemorated on October 5

The Martyr Charitina of Rome was orphaned in childhood and raised like a daughter by the pious Christian Claudius. The young woman was very pretty, sensible, kind and fervent in faith. She imparted her love for Christ to others, and she converted many to the way of salvation.

During the time of persecutions under Emperor Diocletian (284-305), St. Charitina was subjected to horrible torments for her strong confession of the Lord Jesus Christ. She died a martyr’s death in the year 304.

Troparion (Tone 4) –

Your lamb Charitina,

calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice:

“I love You, my Bridegroom,

and in seeking You, I endure suffering.

In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,

and I died so that I might live with You.

Accept me as a pure sacrifice,

for I have offered myself in love.”

Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

Kontakion (Tone 2) –

Having fortified your soul with faith and strengthened by understanding

you openly put the enemy to shame, O Charitina;

you stood before Christ wearing a robe empurpled by your blood, All-Blessed One,

and now you rejoice with the angels, praying for us, O passion-bearer.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Memelchtha of Persia


Commemorated on October 5

Before her conversion to Christianity, the Martyr Mamelchtha of Persia was a pagan priestess of the goddess Artemis.

The saint’s sister convinced her to accept baptism in Christ. When the pagans saw Mamelchtha in her white baptismal robe, they stoned her. The saint suffered a martyr’s death in the year 344.

Later, a church was dedicated to her on the site of the temple of Artemis.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Kassiane

Commemorated on September 7

Musical composition in all forms – classical, religious, or otherwise – has been a creative expression that seems to have been restricted to men, not because women lack the gift so much as they seem to have avoided this art from. From Mozart to the present day, it is difficult to recall a single classical composer on the distaff side but hidden among the great hymnographers, of all time is the exceptional female creator of church music whose creations have been heard for centuries in Orthodox churches where the members are unaware that a woman wrote the inspirational melody.

The exceptional female composer of hymns of the Orthodox Church was a woman names Kassiane. She lived in Constantinople and was a regular attendant at the Royal Court of Emperor Theophilos whose mother, Euphrosene, saw in the brilliant and beautiful Kassiane a likely candidate to become her son’s bride. The field of eligible young women was narrowed down to Kassiane and another lovely girl named Theodora who hailed from Paphlogenia, apparently from a ranking family of the Empire. The final choice was to be made by the young Emperor who elected to have both the girls brought before him so that a final comparison and decision could be made. Since both were extremely attractive, the choice was not an easy one; but the one thing that Theophilos wanted to make certain of was that his bride not exceed him intellect.

St. Pelagia of Tarsus


Commemorated on October 7 (also on May 4)

St. Pelagia of Tarsus in Cilicia (southeastern Asia Minor) lived in the third century during the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305) and was the daughter of illustrious pagans. When she heard about Jesus Christ from her Christian friends, she believed in Him and desired to preserve her virginity, dedicating her whole life to the Lord.

Emperor Diocletian’s heir saw the maiden Pelagia, was captivated by her beauty, and wanted her to be his wife. The holy virgin told the youth that she was betrothed to Christ the Immortal Bridegroom, and had renounced earthly marriage.

Pelagia’s reply greatly angered the young man, but he decided to leave her in peace, hoping that she would change her mind. Pelagia convinced her mother to let her visit the nurse who had raised her in childhood. She secretly hoped to find Bishop Linus of Tarsus, who had fled to a mountain during a persecution against the Christians, and to be baptized by him. She had seen the face of the bishop in a dream, which made a profound impression upon her. St. Pelagia traveled in a chariot to visit the nurse, dressed in rich clothes and accompanied by a whole retinue of servants, as her mother wished.

St. Pelagia the Penitent


Commemorated on October 8

St. Pelagia the Penitent was converted to Christianity by St. Nonnus, Bishop of Edessa. Before her acceptance of Christianity through Baptism, Pelagia was head of a dance troupe in Antioch, living a life of frivolity and prostitution.

One day while Pelagia was elegantly dressed, she made her way past a church where St. Nonnus was preaching. Believers turned their faces away from her, but the Bishop glanced after Pelagia. Struck by her beauty, St. Nonnus prayed in his cell at length to the Lord for the sinner. He told his fellow bishops that the prostitute put them all to shame, explaining that she took great care to adorn her body in order to appear beautiful in the eyes of men. “We... take no thought for the adornment of our wretched souls,” he said.

On the following day, while St. Nonnus was teaching in the church about the dread Last Judgment and its consequences, Pelagia appeared again. His teaching made a tremendous impression upon her. With the fear of God and weeping tears of repentance, she asked St. Nonnus to baptize her. Seeing her sincere and full repentance, Bishop Nonnus did so. After her conversion, the devil began to appear to Pelagia, urging her to return to her former life. But she prayed, made the Sign of the Cross, and the devil vanished.

St. Thais of Egypt


Commemorated on October 8

St. Thais of Egypt led a depraved and dissolute life. She was famed for her beauty, leading many on the path to perdition.

Stories about Thais spread throughout all Egypt, eventually reaching even St. Paphnutius, a strict ascetic who had converted many to salvation. Paphnutius dressed himself in worldly attire and went to Thais, giving her money as though he wished to pay for her favors. He pretended to be afraid that someone would see them, so he asked her if there was a place where they would not be discovered. Thais said that they could lock the door and enjoy complete privacy. “But if you fear God,” she said, “there is no place where you can hide from Him.” Seeing that she knew about God and the punishment of the wicked, the Elder asked why she led a sinful life and enticed others to ruin their souls. He told her about the eternal punishment she would have to face for her own sins, and for the people who had been corrupted and destroyed by her.

The words of St. Paphnutius so affected Thais that she gathered up all her riches acquired through her shameful life and set them on fire in the city square. St. Paphnutius shut her up in a small cell, where for three years she dwelt in seclusion. Turning toward the East, Thais constantly repeated the prayer, “My Creator, have mercy on me!”

St. Publia the Confessor and Deaconess of Antioch


Commemorated on October 9

The holy Martyr Publia the Confessor became a widow at a young age and devoted the majority of her life to raising her son John in the Christian Faith. John became a presbyter, and Publia, for her prudent and ascetic life, was found worthy of becoming a deaconess. She guided widows and young women who wished to devote themselves to the service of God, and she organized a monastery in her home. During the persecution of Christians under Emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), St Publia and the sisters publicly denounced him. When the emperor made his way to Publia’s house, the sisters loudly sang Psalms 113 and 114 denouncing the worship of idols. The emperor’s soldiers fiercely beat the venerable abbess, but she endured the tortures with patience and humility.

St. Publia died shortly thereafter, falling asleep in the Lord.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

About the Archdiocese

Welcome to the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, an Archdiocese of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East. We trace our roots to first century Antioch, the city in which the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians.

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Sometimes called the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Orthodox Church is the first Christian Church, the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and described in the pages of the New Testament. Her history can be traced in unbroken continuity all the way back to Christ and His Twelve Apostles. For twenty centuries, she has continued in her undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. Today her apostolic doctrine, worship and structure remain intact. The Orthodox Church maintains that the Church is the living Body of Jesus Christ. 

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St. Christodoula The Mother Of Urban, Prilidian, Epolonius


Commemorated on September 4

Saint Christodoula was the mother of the three youths Urban, Prilidian, Epolonius who suffered martyrdom with Hieromartyr Babylas under Emperor Decius (249-251).

The emperor tried in all sorts of ways to entice the youths and their mother to renounce Christ, but in vain. In a rage, he ordered each of them to be whipped with a number of blows corresponding to their age. The first received twelve blows, the second, ten, and the third, seven. He then commanded all the martyrs be tied to a tree and burned with fire. Seeing the stoic bravery of the saints, the emperor finally condemned them to death by beheading with the sword.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Martha the Mother of St. Simeon Stylite the Younger


Commemorated on July 4

Saint Martha lived in Cilicia of Asia Minor during the fourth and fifth centuries and came from a poor family. She and her husband, Sisotion, were the parents of St. Simeon the Stylite.

At the age of eighteen, Simeon received the monastic tonsure without his parents’ knowledge. Many years later, Martha came to the saint’s pillar in order to see him. Simeon sent word to her not to come, for if they were worthy, the two of them would meet again in the life to come. Martha insisted on seeing him, so had someone tell her to wait for him in silence. St. Martha agreed, and waited at the foot of the hill where her son’s pillar stood. There she fell asleep in the Lord.

When he heard that his mother had died, St. Simeon ordered that her body be brought to the foot of his pillar. He prayed over his mother’s body for some time shedding many tears, and witnesses said that a smile appeared on St. Martha’s face.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Sophia and Her Three Daughters


Commemorated on September 17

The Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love were born in Italy. Sophia was a pious Christian widow who named her daughters for the three Christian virtues. At the time of their martyrdom, Faith was twelve, Hope was ten, and Love was nine. St. Sophia raised them in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they did not hide their faith, openly confessing it before everyone.

An official named Antiochus denounced them to Emperor Hadrian who ordered that they be brought to Rome. The holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and death. When they appeared before the emperor, all those present were amazed at their composure. They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to torture. Summoning each of the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis, but the girls remained unyielding.

The emperor then ordered them to be tortured. They were burned over an iron grating, thrown into a red-hot oven, and finally into a cauldron with boiling tar, but the Lord preserved them. The youngest child, Love, was tied to a wheel and beat with rods until her body was covered with bloody welts. After undergoing unspeakable torments, the holy virgins glorified their Heavenly Bridegroom and remained steadfast in the Faith.

St. Thekla, Protomartyr and Equal to the Apostles

clip_image002[4]Commemorated on September 24

Thekla was born in Iconium (modern Konya, Turkey) to wealthy parents. After having heard St. Paul speak when she was eighteen years of age, she decided she must follow Christ and abandon her plans to marry. Her mother and her fiancé were opposed to this decision, and their accusations to the governor landed St. Paul in prison. St. Thekla slipped away from her house to visit St. Paul, having bribed the guards with her gold jewelry to gain entrance.

At his trial, St. Paul was banished from the city, and Thekla refused to change her mind against the threats from her mother and the governor. She was firm in her conviction to devote herself to Jesus Christ the Bridegroom. Her mother, enraged, persuaded the judge to sentence Thekla to burn to death. Emboldened by her love for Christ, she made the sign of the Cross over the flames and was surrounded by a light, untouched by the flames. Rain, and hail extinguished the fire, and, with thunder, helped to drive away those who wished to put her to death.

She sought out St. Paul and his companions, including St. Barnabas, who were hiding in a cave near the city, and proceeded to spread the Gospel of Christ with them in Antioch. Throughout her life, she performed many miraculous feats and suffered many tortures to give glory to God. Having retired to a desolate region of Isaurian Seleucia with the blessing of St. Paul, Thekla continued to preach God's word.

When St. Thekla had reached the age of 90, pagans appeared with the purpose of killing her. St. Thekla called on Christ, and a large rock split open, covering her. Thereafter, she offered up her soul to the Lord.

St. Dorothy of Kashin


Commemorated on September 24

St. Dorothy of Kashin was born in 1549 of a noble family. From the age of twelve, she lived in an area of civil unrest which was subject to rebellion, invasion, and plague. She married Theodore Ladygin, and they lived north of Moscow in the city of Kashin. Dorothy’s husband was killed early in the 17th century while defending the city in a battle against Polish and Lithuanian invaders. She was close to sixty years old at that time.

After her husband’s death, St. Dorothy decided to leave the world and enter the women’s monastery of the Meeting of the Lord in Kashin. Located in this same monastery were the relics of St. Anna of Kashin. The monastery had been sacked along with the city, so conditions were difficult.

St. Dorothy built a small cell in the ruins, and there she engaged in ascetical struggles. She found the Korsun Icon of the Theotokos in the debris and kept it in her cell. This icon later became known for its miracles.

As she grew older, she preferred to remain in the semi-wilderness around Kashin. She tried to help those who were suffering by encouraging and consoling them. Whatever money she had left after her husband’s death was used to restore the monastery or to benefit the poor. Although she had once lived in luxury, St. Dorothy was now reduced to poverty, enduring every affliction and sorrow with great patience. She prayed continually for her husband, her monastery, and the city of Kashin.

St. Irais (Rhais) of Alexandria the Apostle at Heraclea


Commemorated on September 23

The Holy Martyr Irais lived in Alexandria. Once, she went to a well to draw water and saw a ship at the shore. On board were a large number of men, women, clergy and monks, who had been placed in chains for their confession of the Christian Faith.

Casting aside her water pitcher, the saint voluntarily joined the prisoners for Christ, and chains were placed on her as well. When the ship arrived in the Egyptian city of Antipolis, St. Irais was the first to undergo fierce torments and was beheaded with the sword. After her, the other martyrs sealed their confession of faith in Christ with their blood.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Xanthippe and St. Polyxene, Disciples of the Apostles


Commemorated on September 23

The Monastic Women Xanthippe and Polyxene were sisters by birth who lived in Spain in the time of the holy Apostles. They were among the first to hear the divine teaching of Christ the Savior from the Apostle Paul when he preached near their home.

St. Xanthippe and her husband, Probus, accepted Christianity, but St. Polyxene was still a pagan when a certain man became entranced with her extraordinary beauty and forcibly carried her off to Greece on a ship. However, the Lord preserved her unharmed. On the voyage, she heard the preaching of the Apostle Peter and came to believe in Christ. When she arrived in Greece, St. Polyxene turned to the Christians for protection, and they hid her in the city of Patra where she formally accepted Christianity and was baptized by the Apostle Andrew.

She became a witness to St. Andrew’s miracles and saw how he patiently and humbly endured his sufferings and death, standing at the foot of the cross when they crucified him. After his death, St. Polyxene returned to Spain, where she and her older sister, Xanthippe, converted many pagans to Christ. St. Polyxene toiled for about forty years preaching the Gospel in Spain. St. Xanthippe shared in her sister’s work and preached in the populous city of Toledo.

St. Polyxene reposed in about the year 109, having preserved her virginity to the end of her earthly life.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Theopiste with Her Husband and Children


Commemorated on September 20

St. Theopiste was the wife of the Great Martyr Eustathius, and was born in the first century.

While hunting in a forest, Placidas (the name of St. Eustathius before his Baptism) saw a stag with a radiant Cross between its antlers. He heard a voice coming from the Cross saying, “Why do you pursue Me, Placidas?” “Who are You, Master?,” asked Placidas. The Voice replied, “I am Jesus Christ, Whom you do not know, yet you honor Me by your good deeds. I have appeared here on this creature for your sake, to capture you in the net of My love for mankind. It is not fitting that one as righteous as you should worship idols and not know the truth.” The Lord told him to go to the bishop and be baptized.

With joy, Placidas returned home and told what happened to his wife, Tatiana. She told her husband how the evening before in a mysterious dream she had been told, “Tomorrow you, your husband and your sons shall come to Me and know that I am the true God.”

They hastened to the Christian bishop, who baptized all their family, and communed them with the Holy Mysteries. Placidas was renamed Eustathius, his wife was called Theopiste, and their children, Agapius and Theopistus.

St. Ariadne of Phrygia


Commemorated on September 18

The Holy Martyr Ariadne was a servant of Tertillos, a city official of Promyssia (Phrygia) during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (117-161). On the occasion of the birth of his son, Tertillos made a sacrificial offering to the pagan gods, but the Christian Ariadne refused to participate in the celebration. As punishment, she was subjected to beatings and lacerations with sharp iron hooks. She was then thrown into prison and left without food unless she vowed to worship the pagan gods.

When Ariadne was eventually released from prison, she fled the city, but Tertillos sent executioners after her. Seeing that they were chasing her, she ran, calling out to God to defend her from her enemies. Suddenly, through her prayers, a fissure opened in the mountain, and St. Ariadne hid in it. This miracle led the pursuers to strike one another with spears in fear and confusion.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Theodota at Nicea


Commemorated on September 17

The Holy Martyr Theodota, a native of Cappadocia, suffered in the city of Nicea during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235). Governor Symblicius was told that a rich woman named Theodota was confessing Christ. Summoning her, he urged her to turn from the true Faith. Seeing the futility of his attempts, he gave Theodota over to torture. They suspended her and began to rake her with iron hooks, but she did not feel any pain. They then put her in chains and led her away to a prison cell.

After eight days, upon leading her to new tortures, only faint traces of the tortures already endured remained on her body. The governor was amazed and asked, “Who are you?” The saint answered, “Your mind is darkened, but if you were sober, then you would have realized that I am Theodota.”

Governor Symblicius commanded the martyr be cast into a red-hot furnace. Flames shot out and scorched those standing nearby, while those remaining unharmed shut the furnace and fled. Pagan priests opened the furnace to scatter the ashes of the martyr, but they too were burned by the flames. Those remaining saw St. Theodota unhurt, standing in the midst of the flames between two youths in white and glorifying the Lord. This apparition so terrified the pagans that they fell down as if dead. St. Theodota was thereafter ordered back to prison.

St. Agathocleia


Commemorated on September 17

The Holy Martyr Agathocleia was a servant in the home of a Christian named Nicholas. His wife, Paulina, was a pagan. For eight years, Agathocleia suffered abuse from her mistress because of her faith. Paulina fiercely beat Agathocleia and made her walk barefoot over sharp stones.

Once, in a fit of rage, Paulina broke Agathocleia’s rib with a blow from a hammer, and then cut out her tongue. Nothing could make the saint give in to the demand of her mistress to worship idols. Paulina locked the martyr in prison in the hopes of starving her to death. But Agathocleia did not perish with birds bringing her food each day. Finally, Paulina personally went to the prison and murdered the holy martyr.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Sebastiana the Martyr and Disciple of St. Paul the Apostle at Heraclea


Commemorated on September 16

The Holy Martyr Sebastiana was a follower of the Apostle Paul. During a persecution against Christians under the Emperor Dometian (81-96), she was placed on trial before Governor Georgios in the city of Marcianopolis.

St. Sebastiana firmly confessed her faith in Christ, and for this she was subjected to cruel tortures. At first, she was beaten, then thrown into a red-hot oven from which she emerged unharmed. She was sent to the city of Heraklea, where sentence was pronounced on her a second time.

Governor Pompian gave orders to tie the saint to a tree and lacerate her body with roof-tiles, but she remained unbroken in her faith. The governor then gave her over to be eaten by wild beasts. There too the Lord preserved the holy martyr, and the beasts refused to touch her. Finally, by order of the governor, St. Sebastiana was beheaded. Her body was thrown into the sea, but was taken by angels to the island of Rhodes (in Thrace, in the Sea of Marmara).

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

St. Melitina of Marcianopolis


Commemorated on September 16

The Holy Martyr Melitina lived in the city of Marcianopolis in Thrace during the rule of Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). She was a fervent Christian, and the Lord blessed her with the gift of wonderworking. By the power of her prayers, she shattered the idols of Apollo and Herakles.

Her fiery preaching converted many pagans to Christ. Antiochus, the governor of Marcianopolis, ordered that she be tortured, since she could not be persuaded to deny Christ. She was handed over to the governor’s women who tried to change her by flattery and kindness. Not only was St. Melitina not deceived or softened, but she converted the governor’s women to Christianity. When the governor learned of this, he had St. Melitina brought to trial and sentenced her to be beheaded.

After her death, a Christian named Acacius reverently took the martyr’s body with the intention of burying her in Macedonia. However, during the voyage, Acacius became sick and died. The ship stopped at the island of Limnos, where the body of St. Melitina was buried. Acacius was laid to rest beside her grave.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (

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